So you’ve heard about this blog thing and know you need to do something but you’re not sure what.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard that phrase from clients, colleagues and even my husband (a newspaper reporter). And the issue will continue to grow as more publications expand their offerings to include exclusive online content and bloggers who break news will continue to gain buzz and readers.

But how do you figure out which blogs are the “important” ones and how do you measure the impact if your company or product is mentioned? There’s no easy answer.

Steve Rubel has campaigned for better measurement, noting the disparity of page views with other applications.

“These days most interactive web sites are built using Flash and/or Ajax (a cake mix of Javascript, XML and HTML). Page views are useless here. They only count complete refreshes of a page. Yahoo’s page views fell late last year as it increasingly turned to these technologies to power popular products like Yahoo Maps.”

In measuring a blog mention, Mike Driehorst notes that quality wins over quantity:

“Blogs can be much more targeted; “nichely-focused.” Traditional media is pretty much broadly focused. Even trade publications go after a national or regional group. Any post — positive or negative — is viewed by a higher quality audience. Regular visitors to blogs have a strong personal or professional interest in the topics."

And Valleywag recently wrote about the top bloggers and the relationship between page views and link popularity, two measurements that don’t necessarily correlate:

“But the same graph shows there’s an indirect relationship; a blog with one hundred daily views isn’t going to pop onto the top 100, and a blog with millions of views a day will show up on the list, even if it’s a bit lower than it should be. Note Perez Hilton, whose 100 million monthly readers probably aren’t bloggers who will link to their favorite articles; thus his low Technorati rank.”

Meanwhile, the Internet continues to buzz about the demise of the print news industry, most recently with the move from print to online-only at InfoWorld and questions about the San Francisco Chronicle’s stability. So blogs and online publications will become even more important.

Blog measurement needs to have a standard in place. Providing page views and link popularity is flawed. ROI continues to be the big question. Documenting a noticeable increase in buzz about your company or product after a blog mention is one place to start.

— Tonja Deegan